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To evaluate whole-genome sequencing (WGS) as a molecular typing tool for MRSA outbreak investigation.
Investigation of MRSA colonization/infection in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) over 3 years (2014–2017).
Single-center level IV NICU.
NICU infants and healthcare workers (HCWs).
Infants were screened for MRSA using a swab of the anterior nares, axilla, and groin, initially by targeted (ring) screening, and later by universal weekly screening. Clinical cultures were collected as indicated. HCWs were screened once using swabs of the anterior nares. MRSA isolates were typed using WGS with core-genome multilocus sequence typing (cgMLST) analysis and by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Colonized and infected infants and HCWs were decolonized. Control strategies included reinforcement of hand hygiene, use of contact precautions, cohorting, enhanced environmental cleaning, and remodeling of the NICU.
We identified 64 MRSA-positive infants: 53 (83%) by screening and 11 (17%) by clinical cultures. Of 85 screened HCWs, 5 (6%) were MRSA positive. WGS of MRSA isolates identified 2 large clusters (WGS groups 1 and 2), 1 small cluster (WGS group 3), and 8 unrelated isolates. PFGE failed to distinguish WGS group 2 and 3 isolates. WGS groups 1 and 2 were codistributed over time. HCW MRSA isolates were primarily in WGS group 1. New infant MRSA cases declined after implementation of the control interventions.
We identified 2 contemporaneous MRSA outbreaks alongside sporadic cases in a NICU. WGS was used to determine strain relatedness at a higher resolution than PFGE and was useful in guiding efforts to control MRSA transmission.
In Cameroon, there is a national programme engaged in the control of schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiasis. In certain locations, the programme is transitioning from morbidity control towards local interruption of parasite transmission. The volcanic crater lake villages of Barombi Mbo and Barombi Kotto are well-known transmission foci and are excellent context-specific locations to assess appropriate disease control interventions. Most recently they have served as exemplars of expanded access to deworming medications and increased environmental surveillance. In this paper, we review infection dynamics through time, beginning with data from 1953, and comment on the short- and long-term success of disease control. We show how intensification of local control is needed to push towards elimination and that further environmental surveillance, with targeted snail control, is needed to consolidate gains in preventive chemotherapy as well as empower local communities to take ownership of interventions.
22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11.2DS) is associated with high rates of neurodevelopmental disorder, however, the links between developmental coordination disorder (DCD), intellectual function and psychiatric disorder remain unexplored.
To establish the prevalence of indicative DCD in children with 22q11.2DS and examine associations with IQ, neurocognition and psychopathology.
Neurocognitive assessments and psychiatric interviews of 70 children with 22q11.2DS (mean age 11.2, s.d. = 2.2) and 32 control siblings (mean age 11.5, s.d. = 2.1) were carried out in their homes. Nine children with 22q11.2DS and indicative DCD were subsequently assessed in an occupational therapy clinic.
Indicative DCD was found in 57 (81.4%) children with 22q11.2DS compared with 2 (6.3%) control siblings (odds ratio (OR) = 36.7, P < 0.001). Eight of nine (89%) children with indicative DCD met DSM-5 criteria for DCD. Poorer coordination was associated with increased numbers of anxiety, (P < 0.001), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (P < 0.001) and autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms (P < 0.001) in children with 22q11.2DS. Furthermore, 100% of children with 22q11.2DS and ADHD had indicative DCD (20 of 20), as did 90% of children with anxiety disorder (17 of 19) and 96% of children who screened positive for ASD (22 of 23). The Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire score was related to sustained attention (P = 0.006), even after history of epileptic fits (P = 0.006) and heart problems (P = 0.009) was taken into account.
Clinicians should be aware of the high risk of coordination difficulties in children with 22q11.2DS and its association with risk of mental disorder and specific neurocognitive deficits.
Far-UV photons (FUV, E < 13.6 eV) from hot massive stars regulate, or at least influence, the heating, ionization, and chemistry of most of the neutral interstellar medium (H i and H2 clouds). Investigating the interaction between FUV radiation and interstellar matter (molecules, atoms and grains) thus plays an important role in astrochemistry.
The Orion Bar, an interface region between the Orion A molecular cloud and the H ii region around the Trapezium cluster, is a textbook example of a strongly illuminated dense PDR (photodissociation region). The Bar is illuminated by a FUV field of a few 104 times the mean interstellar radiation field. Because of its proximity and nearly edge-on orientation, it provides a very good template to investigate the chemical content, structure, and dynamics of a strongly irradiated molecular cloud edge. We have used ALMA to mosaic a small field of the Bar where the critical transition from atomic to molecular gas takes place. These observations provide an unprecedented sharp view of this transition layer (≲ 1″ resolution or ≲ 414 AU). The resulting images (so far in the rotational emission of CO, HCO+, H13CO+, SO+, SO, and reactive ions SH+ and HOC+) show the small-scale structure in gas density and temperature, and the steep abundance gradients. The images reveal a pattern of high-density substructures, photo-ablative gas flows and instabilities at the edge of the molecular cloud. These first ALMA images thus show a more complex morphology than the classical clump/interclump static model of a PDR.
In order to quantify the chemical content in strongly FUV-irradiated gas, we have also used the IRAM-30 m telescope to carry out a complete line-survey of the illuminated edge of the Bar in the millimeter domain. Our observations reveal the presence of complex organic molecules (and precursors) that were not expected in such a harsh environment. In particular, we have reported the first detection of the unstable cis conformer of formic acid (HCOOH) in the ISM. The energy barrier to internal rotation (the conversion from trans to cis) is approximately 4827 cm−1 (≈7000 K). Hence, this detection is surprising. The low inferred trans-to-cis abundance ratio of 2.8±1.0 supports a photoswitching mechanism: a given conformer absorbs a FUV stellar photon that radiatively excites the molecule to electronic states above the interconversion barrier. Subsequent fluorescent decay leaves the molecule in a different conformer form. This mechanism, which we have specifically studied with ab initio quantum calculations, was not considered so far in astrochemistry although it can affect the structure of a variety of molecules in PDRs.
Planets form in disks around young stars. The planet formation process may start when the protostar and disk are still deeply embedded within their infalling envelope. However, unlike more evolved protoplanetary disks, the physical and chemical structure of these young embedded disks are still poorly constrained. We have analyzed ALMA data for 13CO, C18O and N2D+ to constrain the temperature structure, one of the critical unknowns, in the disk around L1527. The spatial distribution of 13CO and C18O, together with the kinetic temperature derived from the optically thick 13CO emission and the non-detection of N2D+, suggest that this disk is warm enough (≳ 20 K) to prevent CO freeze-out.
Results are presented from our ongoing studies of Titan using ALMA during the period 2012-2015, including a confirmation of the previous detection of vinyl cyanide (C2H3CN), as well as the first spatial map for this species on Titan. Simultaneous mapping of HC3N, CH3CN and C2H5CN reveal characteristic abundance patterns for each species that provide insight into their individual photochemical lifetimes, and help inform our understanding of Titan’s unique, time-variable atmospheric chemistry and global circulation. A time-sequence of HC3N maps covering 38 months reveals a dramatic change in the distribution of this gas consistent with high-altitude photochemical production followed by advection towards the southern (winter) pole, combined with rapid loss in the north after Titan’s 2009 seasonal equinox. The 2015 C2H3CN and C2H5CN maps show abundance peaks in Titan’s southern hemisphere, similar to those observed for the short-lived HC3N molecule. The longer-lived CH3CN, on the other hand, remains more concentrated in the north.
Far-infrared spectroscopy reveals gas cooling and its underlying heating due to physical processes taking place in the surroundings of protostars. These processes are reflected in both the chemistry and excitation of abundant molecular species. Here, we present the Herschel-PACS far-IR spectroscopy of 90 embedded low-mass protostars from the WISH (van Dishoeck et al. 2011), DIGIT (Green et al. 2013), and WILL surveys (Mottram et al. 2017). The 5 × 5 spectra covering the ∼50″ × 50″ field-of-view include rotational transitions of CO, H2O, and OH lines, as well as fine-structure [O I] and [C II] in the ∼50-200 μm range. The CO rotational temperatures are typically ∼300 K, with some sources showing additional components with temperatures as high as ∼1000 K. The H2O / CO and H2O / OH flux ratios are low compared to stationary shock models, suggesting that UV photons may dissociate some H2O and decrease its abundance. Comparison to C shock models illuminated by UV photons show a good agreement between the line emission and the models for pre-shock densities of 105 cm−3 and UV fields 0.1-10 times the interstellar value. The far-infrared molecular and atomic lines are the unique diagnostic of shocks and UV fields in deeply-embedded sources.
Parasite infection in young animals can affect host traits related to demographic processes such as survival and reproduction, and is therefore crucial to population viability. However, variation in infection among juvenile hosts is poorly understood. Experimental studies have indicated that effects of parasitism can vary with host sex, hatching order and hatch date, yet it remains unclear whether this is linked to differences in parasite burdens. We quantified gastrointestinal nematode burdens of wild juvenile European shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) using two in situ measures (endoscopy of live birds and necropsy of birds that died naturally) and one non-invasive proxy measure (fecal egg counts (FECs)). In situ methods revealed that almost all chicks were infected (98%), that infections established at an early age and that older chicks hosted more worms, but FECs underestimated prevalence. We found no strong evidence that burdens differed with host sex, rank or hatch date. Heavier chicks had higher burdens, demonstrating that the relationship between burdens and their costs is not straightforward. In situ measures of infection are therefore a valuable tool in building our understanding of the role that parasites play in the dynamics of structured natural populations.
The intensity ratios of HCO+/HCN and HNC/HCN (1-0) reveal the relative influence of star formation and active galactic nuclei (AGN) or black holes on the circum-nuclear gas of a galaxy, allowing the identification of X-ray dominated regions (XDRs) and Photon-dominated regions (PDRs). It is not always clear in the literature how this intensity ratio calculation has been, or should be performed. This paper discusses ratio calculation methods for interferometric data.
The Critically Endangered Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus, the world's largest amphibian, is severely threatened by unsustainable exploitation of wild individuals. However, field data with which to assess the salamander's status, population trends, or exploitation across its geographical range are limited, and recent field surveys using standard ecological field techniques have typically failed to detect wild individuals. We conducted community-based fieldwork in three national nature reserves (Fanjingshan, Leigongshan and Mayanghe) in Guizhou Province, China, to assess whether local ecological knowledge constitutes a useful tool for salamander conservation. We collected a sample of dated salamander sighting records and associated data from these reserves for comparative assessment of the relative status of salamander populations across the region. Although Fanjingshan and Leigongshan are still priority sites for salamander conservation, few recent sightings were recorded in either reserve, and respondents considered that salamanders had declined locally at both reserves. The species may already be functionally extinct at Mayanghe. Although respondent data on threats to salamanders in Guizhou are more difficult to interpret, overharvesting was the most commonly suggested explanation for salamander declines, and it is likely that the growing salamander farming industry is the primary driver of salamander extraction from Guizhou's reserves. Questionnaire-based surveys can collect novel quantitative data that provide unique insights into the local status of salamander populations, and we advocate wide-scale incorporation of this research approach into future salamander field programmes.
The Millimetre Astronomy Legacy Team 90 GHz (MALT90) survey aims to characterise the physical and chemical evolution of high-mass star-forming clumps. Exploiting the unique broad frequency range and on-the-fly mapping capabilities of the Australia Telescope National Facility Mopra 22 m single-dish telescope1, MALT90 has obtained 3′ × 3′ maps towards ~2 000 dense molecular clumps identified in the ATLASGAL 870 μm Galactic plane survey. The clumps were selected to host the early stages of high-mass star formation and to span the complete range in their evolutionary states (from prestellar, to protostellar, and on to
regions and photodissociation regions). Because MALT90 mapped 16 lines simultaneously with excellent spatial (38 arcsec) and spectral (0.11 km s−1) resolution, the data reveal a wealth of information about the clumps’ morphologies, chemistry, and kinematics. In this paper we outline the survey strategy, observing mode, data reduction procedure, and highlight some early science results. All MALT90 raw and processed data products are available to the community. With its unprecedented large sample of clumps, MALT90 is the largest survey of its type ever conducted and an excellent resource for identifying interesting candidates for high-resolution studies with ALMA.
Foods and dietary patterns that enhance satiety may provide benefit to consumers. The aim of the present review was to describe, consider and evaluate research on potential benefits of enhanced satiety. The proposal that enhanced satiety could only benefit consumers by a direct effect on food intake should be rejected. Instead, it is proposed that there is a variety of routes through which enhanced satiety could (indirectly) benefit dietary control or weight-management goals. The review highlights specific potential benefits of satiety, including: providing appetite control strategies for consumers generally and for those who are highly responsive to food cues; offering pleasure and satisfaction associated with low-energy/healthier versions of foods without feeling ‘deprived’; reducing dysphoric mood associated with hunger especially during energy restriction; and improved compliance with healthy eating or weight-management efforts. There is convincing evidence of short-term satiety benefits, but only probable evidence for longer-term benefits to hunger management, possible evidence of benefits to mood and cognition, inadequate evidence that satiety enhancement can promote weight loss, and no evidence on which consumers would benefit most from satiety enhancement. The appetite-reducing effects of specific foods or diets will be much more subtle than those of pharmaceutical compounds in managing hunger; nevertheless, the experience of pharmacology in producing weight loss via effects on appetite suggests that there is potential benefit of satiety enhancement from foods incorporated into the diet to the consumer.
A survey of the Milky Way disk and the Magellanic System at the wavelengths of the 21-cm atomic hydrogen (H i) line and three 18-cm lines of the OH molecule will be carried out with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder telescope. The survey will study the distribution of H i emission and absorption with unprecedented angular and velocity resolution, as well as molecular line thermal emission, absorption, and maser lines. The area to be covered includes the Galactic plane (|b| < 10°) at all declinations south of δ = +40°, spanning longitudes 167° through 360°to 79° at b = 0°, plus the entire area of the Magellanic Stream and Clouds, a total of 13 020 deg2. The brightness temperature sensitivity will be very good, typically σT≃ 1 K at resolution 30 arcsec and 1 km s−1. The survey has a wide spectrum of scientific goals, from studies of galaxy evolution to star formation, with particular contributions to understanding stellar wind kinematics, the thermal phases of the interstellar medium, the interaction between gas in the disk and halo, and the dynamical and thermal states of gas at various positions along the Magellanic Stream.
Prior studies examining the association between self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination and obesity have had mixed results and primarily been cross-sectional. This study tests the hypothesis that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts gains in waist circumference and body mass index in Black and White women and men over eight years. In race/ethnicity- and gender-stratified models, this study examined whether change in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination predicts changes in waist circumference and body mass index over time using a fixed-effects regression approach in SAS statistical software, providing control for both measured and unmeasured time-invariant covariates. Between 1992–93 and 2000–01, self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination decreased among 843 Black women (75% to 73%), 601 Black men (80% to 77%), 893 White women (30% to 23%) and 856 White men (28% to 23%). In fixed-effects regression models, controlling for all time-invariant covariates, social desirability bias, and changes in education and parity (women only) over time, an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination over time was significantly associated with an increase in waist circumference (β=1.09, 95% CI: 0.00–2.19, p=0.05) and an increase in body mass index (β=0.67, 95% CI: 0.19–1.16, p=0.007) among Black women. No associations were observed among Black men and White women and men. These findings suggest that an increase in self-reported experiences of racial/ethnic discrimination may be associated with increases in waist circumference and body mass index among Black women over time.